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Ortega's control over the media slips even as a government crackdown intensifies

A masked protester shows the cover of a local newspaper with the headline
A masked protester shows the cover of a local newspaper with the headline "Massacre on Mother's Day", in Managua, Nicaragua, 4 July 2018

Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The following is an excerpt of a 7 August 2017 CPJ blog post by John Otis/CPJ Andes Correspondent.

Nicaragua's four-month-old popular uprising has not only weakened President Daniel Ortega's grip on power: it has eroded his government's control over the news.

Until recently, analysts told CPJ, most Nicaraguan news organizations supported Ortega or provided relatively benign coverage of his increasingly authoritarian regime. But amid a violent crackdown on demonstrators that has killed at least 300 people, more media outlets are providing hard-hitting reports about government abuses and some have joined in the calls for Ortega to resign.

"The government's monopoly over information has collapsed," Carlos Fernando Chamorro, editor of the independent news website Confidencial, told CPJ. "The independent media is becoming stronger."

This more militant stance comes amid rising dangers for journalists. One journalist was killed in April and many others told CPJ that they have been beaten, shot at by snipers or had their equipment stolen by pro-Ortega paramilitaries. In July, several reporters were trapped overnight in a Managua church occupied by student protesters that came under attack from government forces.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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